It happens every day, you did everything right and your phone is ringing, then BAM! the caller never calls you back and you are left wondering why.
Most of these “lost opportunities” are due to lack of proper communication skills or poor phone etiquette. So much business is wasted and you are lost to the reason; the potential customer won’t tell you why they don’t buy from you. They simply state:
- “I’m only in the planning stage”
- “Let me call you back”
- “Thank you for the information, I will be in touch”
- “I am just gathering information”
What they are really saying is “I am not buying from you”. This is probably due to something you said or their perception of the interaction. The sad truth, most small businesses really don’t understand or appreciate the simple rule of first impressions, or they decide they aren’t changing their sales methods. These are the businesses that barely squeak by, never truly realizing their “true” potential.
The harsh truth is, that’s OK, this allows customer focused businesses (like yours) an opportunity to compete on service. People buy from people they trust.
If you are a small business such as a roofing or demolition contractor that understands a need to improve in this area, fantastic! This article may give you some ideas to try out.
Here are some tips to increase interest and hopefully increase sales.
1. Professional Greeting
If you are not good on the phone or enjoy talking to people, find someone who is. This sounds harsh, but many small business owners choose to handle this very important task and fail miserably. Answer the phone as if your business success depends on it (because it does!)…such as:
- “Good afternoon, this is Bob at ABC Roofing, how can I help you today?”
- “Thank you for calling ABC Roofing, my name is Bob, how can I help you today?”
This simple introduction lets the caller know that they have reached a professional company that is willing to help them solve a problem. Next, ask them their name and remember it and use it throughout the conversation. This displays warmth, professionalism, and a understanding that you care about them and their problem.
2. Develop Rapport
The potential customer should feel like they are in good hands and have contacted the right company. A proven method is through customer engagement.
- Acknowledge – listen to their issue or problem
- Questions – ask clarifying questions to understand their issue or problem
- Support – “yes we can help you” with your issue or problem
- Check for understanding – describe their problem back to them
- Transition – secure a follow-up appointment for on-site estimate or introduce your companies solution or product
Keep potential customers on the phone as long as necessary to understand their issue or problem. Small talk is okay after the heart of the discussion has taken place.
3. ABC’s of Sales
Always Be Closing. Make no mistake; there is an art to knowing when to ask for the business. You must identify the buying signals for your product or service. If you rent dumpsters and your customer says, “I need a dumpster by Monday of next week”. This statement is a clear buying signal.
Trial closes are also very beneficial as you maneuver to a sale. Trial closes are getting minor agreements throughout the conversation. The more minor agreements or acknowledgements you receive, the easier it is to ask for the business.
These “best practices” are not new or novel, just a reminder how everyday interactions with customers should be handled.